Discounts, offers and incentives in B2B marketing
DISCOUNTS, OFFERS AND INCENTIVES IN B2B MARKETING
Discounts, offers and incentives may seem like an old school marketing method, but offering them at the right stage of the sales funnel can seriously help your lead generation.
They need to be presented to prospects in a tactical manner, as you don’t want to devalue your product or rub your current customers up the wrong way. They are ‘offers’ for a reason: they should not be available all the time, and should only be offered to people at the bottom of the sales funnel, as they have an active interest and are likely to convert.
Free trials are a popular offer with software companies, allowing customers to experience the product first hand and see exactly how it can help them before committing to a purchase.
Free trials should be offered at the end of the sales funnel and need to be long enough so your prospects feel like they can test your product and assess whether it adequately meets their needs. As Clarity’s Lincoln Murphy advises on Sixteen Ventures, “Once they’re in, your job is to convert them into a paying customer ASAP regardless of the trial length.
“If you have a 30-day free trial, it doesn’t mean they don’t become a paying customer until the trial expires or on Day 31 (though this is unfortunately typical). They come in thinking they have 30 days to evaluate the product, but you see it as you have three days to get them to USE the product and to convert them to a paying customer within the first seven days.”
It is important to push for the close of a sale once you have offered the free trial, especially as the period comes to a close. Propose an additional time-sensitive offer to make the sale, such as: “We know you said you were going to buy this month. I was just given permission from my boss to offer you 20% off or two free months, but I need you to place your order today.”
When explaining the advantages of your product to a prospect as they near the bottom of the funnel, a demo is an effective way to illustrate the features of the software and validate the solution you are offering. 80% of B2B marketers say that live demos with a sales rep deliver high-quality leads, according to a survey from Software Advice.
Demos are particularly useful when the software is complex and in situations where trials may be abandoned if users are confused about how to best use the product. As Capterra highlights, customers to target with demos are those that need to “communicate their specific workflow and have a much more catered sales conversation.”
Software such as Demochimp allows you to tailor a demo to your customer and then use analytics tools to see how prospects respond to different elements within demo. This highlights each individual’s needs, which can then help when you come to close the sale.
INTRODUCTORY DISCOUNTS, INCENTIVES
Introductory incentives are given at the bottom of the funnel just before the customer commits to buying to tip them over the edge of uncertainty into committing to buying. Incentives could be discounts, such as ‘12 months for the price of 10’ or training on how to use the product for free.
Incentives should be easy to understand, as customers tend to ignore overly complex offers, suggests Zhivago Marketing Partners. “The most successful incentives can be explained in one simple sentence: ‘Buy one, get one free.’ ‘Buy now, pay later.’ ‘Buy now, get X.’ ‘Buy 50, get this.’ If there is a time limit, make it part of the short description ,” she told Marketing Profs.
Consider adding value in your offers, as opposed to discounting your product. At ALF, we often give people access to extra contacts or licenses. To find out what ALF can offer you, request a demo here.
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE OFFERING AND WHEN
If you are offering an incentive to persuade prospects to purchase, remember to consider what point of the sales funnel they are at. Only give away information at the top of the funnel, and then once customers have progressed to the bottom of the funnel, move on to demos, free trials and introductory discounts and offers
Free trials are a great way to allow prospects experience your product first hand, but use a demo if the software is complex and users will benefit from a talk-through on a sales call. And finally: seal the deal with discounts and offers that your customers just can’t ignore.